Paint for the A.

The original A was painted in lacquer on the body panels and enamel for the black fenders.

The dipped black paint had a very good gloss to it. The lacquer was pretty glossy, but it was just a quick buffing on the line and only was in certain areas.

Today we can not get the paints that were used then and we can not get the tints. So any paint job done to the A will be a close approximation to original.

Back in 1930 the variety of tints was limited. I was told they only had 16 tints to chose from, but I do not know if this is true. The tints were less 'pure' in their color. There was stuff in them to make them have a 'muddy' appearance. I am not the best at color, but I finally got the some original paint in the right light and I sort of understand about the muddyness. The lombard blue I have does have a 'muddy' appearance. Today the there are like a 100 different tints and none are the some colors as used in 1930. Plus the tints are pure and like any 'muddy' appearance. So you can only get close to the correct color that was used in 1930.

Matching colors is tricky. You have to have the eye and you have to have a paint jobber that has the eye and all the correct lighting. Also you need to expect to spend some $$$ coming up with your match. Paint is expensive and you need to come up with a quart of paint and spray it out on a primed piece of metal to know if you have it correct. All I can say is good luck if you really want to go this route.

The paints from 1930 all have and InterMix number or IM number. Most paint companies have a formula in modern tints to get fairly close to the original tint. I know PPG has them. You can even call the paint company and ask about their current formula. I had found out the original formula for Lombard blue had two blues, a black and a green tint. Today's PPG Concept formula is two blues, a black, a green, and a little white. So I figured it should be close to correct and it was close enough for my car.

We also have the Paint Handbook published by the national clubs. The paint chip for Lombard blue closely matched a small area of original paint I had left on a door. You need to be careful when looking at the Paint Handbook chips. The chips are surrounded by white which fools the eye into making the color look darker. You must first surround the color with a neutral color, like gray, and view them in full spectrum light. You also need to look at them both in direct and indirect (in the shade) light. Lombard blue looks grossly different in the different light types.

Modern paint if great. If sprayed on right you can get single stage paints to look glossy like they are always wet. With base coat clear coat (BC/CC)you will always get a wet looking surface. The problem is the original paint was buffed lacquer and it never would have the wet look. To get the original shine you need to buff out the paint. This only works for single stage as BC/CC is so good it just does not look right on the model A, it is always to shiny. When you buff out single stage paint you are actually taking away the super wet look you can get when you spray it on right. You are putting in the micro scratches to take away the gloss a little.

If you plan on doing a custom paint color on a basically stock A, think carefully before you do it. I am sorry, but there are some hideous colors on A's out there today. This may sound strange, but the old car just does not look right in some colors.


Black it black????

Black is not as black as you might first think. There are many shades of black. You can buy factory premixed blacks from PPG in the concept line. One will be a mix of black with yellow. Then there is a factory mix with blue and a bit of white. Your dealer can also make up a mix that is black and blue. Now what does this all mean? Well I have not seen the different shade side by side and I do not know what is best for Ford black. I am told the black and blue is a deeper black than the black and yellow. I am also told the, but not confirmed, that the dipped parts are closer to the deeper black blue mix. With how subjective the paint color and hues are I would not even begin to say what is right. It is a very confusing subject that I have fun telling to keep everyone confused. I would tell you to spend more time working your fenders straight and make them nice and shiny.

A few notes on modern paints and finishing.

Do not bother using one part paints!!

Modern two part paints are much easier to work with and produce better results faster. You can get some high build 2 part paints (urethane paints) that you spray one and are ready to sand in a few hours and they do not shrink. Some can be thinned down and used as sealer coats too. It is very wise to used breathing protection with these paints and to cover up with a tyvek suit. The bad stuff (isocyanates and other things) are absorbed through the skin. Plus the number one source of dust that gets into your paint is your clothes. If you are going to do a lot of painting buy an air feed hood. They are pricey, but even if you are only doing one job they have a very high resale value and you can make most of your money back in resale. A hood is very comfortable to use.

The top coat is only as good as what is below. This get done wrong. I am sorry guys, but there is just a lot of wrong information out there on what is best for painting. A lot of bad information is being given out by the professional painters down the street. Just remember, anyone can put a nice looking paint job one a car, but only some can put it on where it stays for many years. Get the P-Sheets for the paint your are using and read them. If someone tells you to do it different than what the P Sheets says ask him why and then do not believe him without looking it up some. I have heard some really bad advice being given out.

You have to start with the metal. It needs to be rust free or have the rust properly inerted. You lock moisture out from the surface with epoxy primers. The paint need roughness for it to stick. Not 24 grit rough. There is a lot of smooth area between the scratches 24 grit makes. I am talking microscopic roughness. You get this with sandblasting or sanding with a finer grit of paper. You also get this with etching chemicals. This is generally some kind of acid. For steel you really want to use phosphoric acid. If someone said they muriatic acid then the panel has troubles waiting to happen. Phosphoric acid chemically reacts with steel to prevent rust from forming and it converts rust in to compound that does not want to rust more. Some products require rinsing and others do not. Products such as PickleX 20 and Ospho do not need rinsing and are supposed to increase paint adhesion. Both will do a substantial amount of metal protection without painting. This is nice for parts you sandblast and need to be left unpainted for some time.


Bear in mind some will try and sell you etching primer. The primary purpose of etching primer is to etch smooth metal so the next layer of paint will stick to it. You would use this on a virgin sheet of metal that has had no mechanical etching to allow paint to stick. Epoxy paints do a very good job of sticking to mechanically etched metal. Epoxy paints are hard and durable and do not allow moisture through. The epoxy paint is a very good direct to metal choice.

To the bare metal you want to do one of two things. You can put body plastic (bondo) directly to metal provided you sand the metal to provide substantial mechanical surface for it to adhere. Keep in mind 80 grit is too course as there is too much space between grooves it creates. 120 and 180 is better has it provides more surface area (more grooves per area) for the plastic to bond. You have to be aware that cold metal is not good as the plastic may cause condensate as it get hot and cures. Plastic does not have to be put directly to metal. If you sand the paint you can put it directly to paint. Some people may tell you that you can put bondo to paint without sanding if you do it in a certain window after painting. There appears to be some truth to this. The owner of SPI paints explained to me that epoxy primers have small holes on their surface as they cure. When you put plastic directly to the curing epoxy, in the recoat window, the plastic will slip it molecules into the little holes. Then the plastic generates heat as it cures causing the epoxy to cure faster causing the holes to tighten up around the plastic giving a stronger bond.

Using Body Filler Link.

The second thing you can do to bear etched metal is spray any direct to metal primers. Usually you want to spray an epoxy primer as that will stick tight to the metal and form a moisture seal. Some urethane primers can be sprayed direct to metal also, see the P Sheet for that product.

Most paints have a window in which you can spray another coat of paint directly and it will chemically bond. Once paint dry's long enough then you have to sand before painting the next coat so the new paint can get a mechanical bond. I say this as you can spray the epoxy paint and then spray a filling primer within the recoat window. See the P Sheets for the products you are using.

Most of the stuff we are working on needs to be leveled. A lot of people like to spread bondo over the whole panel and then sand it with a long board in an X pattern. If the panel is close to flat you do not need to spread the bondo and sand. Just spray a few coats of filling primer and use the long board and an X pattern. Oddly, dry sanding with open coat paper may work better with these modern primers. Use a guide coat and sand until the guide coat is gone or some metal breaks through indicating you need more filler. There are many options for fillers today. If you have to fill in lots of little pits consider using a bondo product that has a thinner consistency or sprayable filler. If you have an unavoidable thick section then use a plastic product with hairs for more strength. If you have a delicate part that is thin with some rust holes consider products like Kwik Poly or these metal epoxies instead of welding.



The poly urethane paints such as concept are dangerous to breath. The problem chemicals are odorless and are given off from the moment you open the can until the paint is cured n the surface that you have painted. What they do to you is subtle and debilitating. The isocyanate paints cause an allergic reaction in your body. The symptoms after exposure are chest tightness much later after breathing or getting the overspray on your skin. The chest tightness and breathing difficulties are an allergic reaction to the chemical. Every exposure to the chemical after that increases the reaction. It is not long until a small exposure causes a chemical induced asthma attack that has killed more than one person. It is important that you know the symtoms occur later after the exposure like you paint at lunch time and you sit down after dinner and notice a chest tightness. Once you have this allergic reaction the safe thing to do is not get near the paint for the rest of your life.

A standard respirator will filter out most of the iso fumes according to a university study I found while trying to understand the safety hazards.. This requires a proper fitting mask worn properly. Clearly the paint manufacturer and the respirator manufacturer will not take this responsiblity so they will tell you not to use them. I will tell you to spend the $300 or so for a proper hobby air unit and mask of somesort. The air units have a very high resale value and are way cheaper than your life. So you can 'rent' one by buying it and reselling for close to what you paid. Tyvek suits are important for two reasons. Isos are absorbed through the skin and the number one source of dust is your own cloths.